Kraken is one of the pioneer exchange platforms for trading cryptocurrency.
Being founded in 2011 in San Francisco, it makes it one of the oldest crypto exchanges, however, it only became very popular around 2013-2014.
They are very well known for their security assets and measures, and this is something they are very proud of.
When you go to their website, the first feature listed on their platform is security, they state “Safeguarding your funds and your privacy is our number one objective“.
They are also rated 4th exchange amongst the top tiers on Coinmarketcap (out of 306 exchanges, based on: web traffic factor, average liquidity, volume, and other factors).
They offer several types of accounts depending on your needs and crypto experience. These include Starter, Express (US citizens only), Intermediate, and Pro.
They are based on how you verify your account (KYC or ‘Know your customer’, identity and background check with your ID, address, occupation, financial situation, etc) and therefore are limited to certain features accordingly.
With these various options, they intend to welcome all types of investors experienced or not. You can easily sign up on either their website or on their mobile app with a few clicks.
Let’s explore which options and features are offered on their platform.
Is Kraken Exchange Limited To Expert Traders?
Once you are on their website, if you scroll down a bit, you’ll see the following statement ‘Kraken is a crypto exchange for everyone’.
In fact, it is meant to welcome all kinds of traders including novice, experts, day traders, long-time-holders, businesses, and more.
Right from the start, they orient their users according to their needs and experience with four different sections.
As mentioned above, they have the option to join accounts which will grant them access to different features.
Amongst them: Staking, Futures trade, Funding, Margin Trade, and Pools. However, lots of reviews can be found on the internet saying that novices tend to struggle with using the platform.
If you happen to be in this case too, they have a Learn section with articles, crypto guides, and short videos to orient new traders on their investment journey.
Pros & Cons Of Kraken
|Security Measures & Assets (Cold storage, 24/7 Surveillance, Penetration testing, Global settings time lock, highly regulated in the countries they operate in and more)
|Novice traders seem to have a hard time using their platform
|About 150 cryptocurrencies supported (Depending on your location)
|Not available in all US states or towns (such as Washington and New York as well as some countries, Congo, Cuba, Iran, and others)
|Numerous Trading Options Supported (Staking, Futures, Funding, Margin and Pools)
|Not FDIC insured (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)
|Offers different type of accounts for your needs and experience (Starter, Express (US only), Intermediate and Pro)
|Some features aren’t available in some supported countries (Futures option and some cryptocurrencies aren’t available everywhere)
|24/7 Live Phone Support Customer Service and LiveChat
|High fees when paying by debit or credit card
Our Take On Kraken
As a whole, Kraken is a professional and safe crypto exchange thanks to the numerous security measures and assets put in place to protect users and their funds.
Their Learn section dedicated to novice traders is complete thanks to articles, videos, and podcasts.
However, as mentioned before, lots of beginners have a hard time using their platform which could potentially be caused by too much information (with the charts, the articles regarding each coin, the different accounts, the different limits of transactions, restrictions in some countries, etc) all of this could overwhelm the user.
On the other hand, the variety of trading features and advanced accounts offered to make it a really interesting exchange for professional traders.
Kraken offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies with more than 100.
It also supports 7 fiats (including USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, and JPY). You can easily deposit money with either a credit card or via bank transfer on Kraken.
However, doing it with a credit card will result in paying higher fees.
They state ‘For every crypto purchase made with your card,a fee of 3.75% + 0.25€ is deducted from the total spending amount specified. The Kraken fee of 1.5%is then applied and is provided on the final confirmation page’.
The minimum transaction amount is $10 to pay by card. On another hand, they state that they do not charge fees for the following:
- Transferring funds to and from the Futures wallet
- Storing funds
- Account inactivity
- Account maintenance
Bank transfers are not available for the Starter Account, there’s a limit of $100k a day or $500k a month for the Intermediate Account and there is no limit for the Pro Account.
There is no limit regarding cryptocurrency deposits for all 3 accounts.
Cryptocurrency withdrawals are limited to $5k a day for the Starter Account, and $500k a day for the Intermediate Account and there is no limit for the Pro Account.
Is Kraken Safe?
Kraken is said to be the best exchange in terms of security.
In fact, they even helped support and resolve a case of theft of Bitcoin that happened on another platform, MtGox back in 2011.
Safety is their ‘number one objective’. They offer cold storage for 95% of all deposits, they have a 24/7 surveillance team of armed guards and video monitors.
Sensitive details saved on their platform are saved encrypted and they regularly go under penetration testing (they have a team testing their security and ensuring that there are no faults, at no level).
Their platform takes your account to a higher level of security with:
- PGP signed and encrypted email for secure communication
- Real-time monitoring for suspicious activity
- Configurable account timeout
- Global settings time lock when you’re away
- High priority 24/7 live chat
And other features. With that being said, we can tell that Kraken is secured on all levels.
Kraken offers a wide range of trading options depending on which account you own (but also on your location).
- The Starter Account is the most limited one as it is also the less verified account. It offers 8 features: Unlimited cryptocurrencies deposit, low limits for cryptocurrency withdrawal, on-chain staking (you can only stake your coins with other protocols and not Kraken internal programs), and others. This account does not offer you to deposit or withdraw cash.
- The Express Account, which is only available to US citizens, offers 8 features too: $9k lifetime limit deposit cash, $9k monthly limit cash withdrawal, and others.
- The Intermediate Account offers 15 features: Unlimited cryptocurrencies deposit, high limits for cryptocurrencies withdrawal, lightning network, high limits deposit cash, high limits withdraw cash, on-chain, and off-chain staking (you can stake your coins on both other protocols and on Kraken internal programs), trade on margin, trade on Kraken futures and others.
- The last one, the Pro Account is the most verified one and therefore grants the most features with 18 of them: Trade on the dark pool (‘The Dark Pool is a separate order book not visible to the rest of the market. Each trader only knowstheirown orders.’), trade on the OTC desk (over-the-counter ‘trading takes place off the open Kraken exchange. We offer deeper liquidity and a private, more personalized service to institutions and high net-worth individuals needing to fill large orders that might be too disruptive if placed on open markets at the exchanges’), parachain auctions, a business account, and more.
Banking At Kraken
Kraken offers the possibility to deposit money with either a debit/credit card or via bank transfer (fees apply).
Find below the breakdown of the current fees of transactions:
|U.S. Bank Account
|$0 to $10
|Credit/Debit Card Buy
|3.75% + 0.25€
|0.50% + 0.9% to 1.5%
|Free to $10 deposit, $4 to $35 withdrawal
|0% to 0.26%
|0% to 0.26%
As a whole, the fees will majorly vary between no fee at all to a low fee depending on your transaction. The highest fees will apply when using a debit or credit card to buy crypto.
Kraken App Experience
You can download the mobile app directly from their website homepage by clicking either on App Store or on Google Play.
Navigating through it is pretty straightforward. You can find crypto news, a Kraken blog on each coin so you can get a bit of background and history on each cryptocurrency.
You can also buy or sell a coin easily by just swiping right or left on a selected coin.
Please note, that Investments have to be over $10. On the pie symbol at the bottom of your screen, you can access your balance and see how many cryptocurrencies you own as well as the amount of money you staked.
Security-wise, your mobile app will be protected by the 2FA (2-Factor Authentication), as well as a fingerprint, facial recognition, or a pin depending on your device.
It will be protected whenever it times out or whenever a change or a transaction is made on your account.
Kraken Site Experience
Navigating through Kraken’s website is similar to the app.
You can easily sign up in just a few clicks. You’ll have access to the same content on a larger screen. You’ll be able to consult the Learn section and crypto guides, but also short videos and various links to podcasts.
You’ll also have access to charts. Once your account is verified, you’ll have the possibility to buy coins easily too.
Next to the crypto asset of your choice, you’ll be able to click on either deposit or withdraw (and even stake for the supported coins).
They have the same level of security settings proposed for the website version of their platform with KYC, 2-Factor Authentication, or Yubikey (a hardware authentication device – its use is described in one of their short videos) and Master Key.
Depending on your account you will see your funding limits in both fiat and crypto.
The registration process should only take a couple of minutes depending on the account you are choosing.
The verification for the Starter Account should take 1-2 minutes, for the Intermediate Account 4-5 minutes, and for the Pro Account up to a few days max.
Below are the requirements for the different accounts:
- Starter Account: Full name, date of birth, phone number, email address, and home address.
- Express Account (Available to US citizens only): All of the above + Occupation details and SSN (Social Security Number)
- Intermediate & Pro Account: All of the above + Provide ID, proof of residence, photo ID
Kraken Global Restrictions
Kraken operates in more than 100 countries worldwide.
However, as mentioned before, the options offered aren’t all available in the supported countries. They have a very detailed section on their platform ‘Where can I use Kraken?’ where you can easily find out which country is supported and if it is supported if they have any other restrictions or limits regarding the platform’s features.
Futures trading for example is not available for US citizens as well as for several other countries (including Algeria, Australia, Japan, Mali, Nepal, and others).
US traders must note that Kraken is not available in Washington and New York.
Kraken Customer Service
Contacting their customer support is simple and hassle-free.
They have a Support section on their website which is divided into several mini sections such as Getting Started, Funding, Account Security & Verification, Trading, and others to redirect you to the needed topic.
They then have subcategories replying to various questions.
These 8 mini sections are followed by their ‘Popular Articles’ which cover other issues and subjects. Right below, you can access their customer service platforms either by live chat or by phone.
When you click on ‘Phone support’ it will lead you to another page where you can live chat, access phone support, or submit a ticket request.
They added another layer of security with an important statement in a red square saying ‘Support will never ask for your username, password or 2FA code’ to warn their users of potential scammers.
Their phone support and live chat are available 24/7 in the US, the UK, and in Europe. You can also email them via their online form.
A really good point for their live chat is that you don’t need to sign in to your account to contact them which makes it easier.